Memoir of Mobility and Movement (Online)


In this class we will examine photography and writing about migration, and at the same time, get personal (and local) about mobility. As we consider mobility in global and personal contexts, we will create documentary photos and writing. These works may be journalistic or memoir . . . the choice is up to you. On a personal level, we will ask questions: What family moves and changes made you who you are? How does it feel to move away from the people, things, and places that you know? Have trips within your local “comfort zone” ever affected you in profound ways? Looking outward, we will consider the ways in which our personal sphere intersects with international migration, and examine social issues resulting from ever-increasing globalization.

For inspiration and to trigger class discussion, we will study the work of photographers such as Sebastião Salgado and Robert Frank, who have documented migrations from country to country and from culture to culture. We’ll also read the work of writers such as Pico Iyer and Ruth Behar, who chronicle the experience of movement and what happens to us in the “between” spaces. With masters of documentary as our guides, we will also ask which visual images inspire us to write, and which written depictions inspire us to photograph.

The class will operate as a workshop in which students can bring projects in progress for critique or can join the class without a project and take part in the activities and assignments that guide weekly writing and photography. All levels are welcome; a digital camera, a computer, and an Internet connection are all you need. (8 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This course is offered in an online format and will not physically meet at CDS but will have regularly scheduled virtual sessions.

Deavours Hall is a writer with special interests in social justice and education. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, where her dissertation was on immigrant children’s use of writing and photography as advocacy. She has taught Creative Nonfiction for Documentarians and Memoir of Movement and Mobility at CDS for five years. A former social worker, she is now director of the Learning Center at Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina.

Rhonda Klevansky is a photographer, writer, and documentary filmmaker. She completed her undergraduate studies in South Africa and has an MA from Duke. She has written numerous magazine articles and a nonfiction children’s book. Her photography collaboration with refugees in London, Fragments from Another Life, has been exhibited in the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. Her recent video documentaries include Welcome to My Paradise, about sand artists on the beaches of Durban, South Africa, and One Band Indivisible, about a marching band at a historically black high school in Durham. Klevansky combines writing, photography, and video to help nonprofit organizations tell their stories, and enjoys mentoring young media practitioners. She contributes photographs to Getty Images and the Nature Picture Library.

Additional Information:
The class will be conducted online. A late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully in virtual meetings.


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